Hoboken Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher Sends Public Condolence To The Russo Family

Hoboken’s Second Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher this morning sent out a heartfelt message to the community, and the Russo family, as final goodbyes are said as former Mayor Anthony Russo is laid to rest this weekend.


Dear friends and neighbors…
I didn’t know Mayor Russo that well. But he was mayor when I first moved to Hoboken in July 1994, when I was just 26, and he was the first mayor I ever met. I remember first really hearing about him when we had the “Blizzard of ’96” in January 1996 and awoke to four feet of snow. Mayor Russo closed Hoboken to outside cars and required ID to enter, towed cars and cleared the roads. Governor Whitman threatened to call in the National Guard if our mayor didn’t make the streets accessible.  My father called me to tell me they heard about it on the news (no internet then…).
Later that year I moved from SW Hoboken to 501 Adams, catty corner from the Anthony Russo Civic Association (and Fiore’s!). Mayor Russo frequently was in the neighborhood, always smiling and talking and listening to anyone and everyone who walked by including me.
But it was in 1998 that he made the biggest impression on me. One day I was walking to the PATH, and suddenly saw a new, gorgeous park on the waterfront. It literally wasn’t there the day before.  A big grass lawn that jutted out into the river that gave you views from the GW bridge to the Verrazano. I continued to work and told everyone I knew how amazing it was, bragging about our waterfront and our amazing views.
And I actually felt a little embarrassed. I thought “How could I not have known this was happening in a town I had lived in already for four or so years?” It was that moment when I decided I would pay more attention and get more involved in my community and our waterfront. I stopped Mayor Russo on the street the next time I saw him coincidentally a few weeks later.  I had moved to 82 Park Ave by then but he was always walking around the city.  I thanked him for what we know as Pier A Park. He couldn’t have been more gracious and proud of this accomplishment.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago I saw and spoke to Mayor Russo again. It was at the opening of the HOPES Cap Annex where the Infant Program wing was to be named after his wife, Michele Russo who had recently passed away. I said hello to him, congratulated him on the naming. What started as small talk evolved into he telling me how much he loved and missed his wife, how amazing she was and in particular young children, and how much he loved his whole family. We talked for about twenty minutes that night on the rooftop of the Rue building.
This year I transitioned from feeling sympathy to empathy for those who have lost a parent. My heart breaks for my Council colleague Mike Russo, his brothers Nick and Anthony and their families who are laying to rest their father and grandfather today just a few short years after their mom’s passing.  I know how close the Russo family is and I hope that their hearts will start to heal soon.
Funeral mass will be this morning at 9:30 a.m. at St. Francis Church, Hoboken. You can view the service online at Saint Francis Church Hoboken YouTube. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington.
May the memory of Mayor Russo be a blessing to all who loved him. Godspeed.
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
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